Last week, I told you about the outhouse on Route 66 in New Mexico that had a sign atop it that read “Obama’s Presidential Library.” At that time, city manager Doug Powers said that he didn’t know anything about the sign, but would see if it violated any city codes. Well, Powers made good on his promise and referred the matter to city code enforcers, who then referred the matter to Randy Knudson, the city’s attorney, according to city project administrator Kayleen Evans.
According to Knudson, he is reviewing pictures of the sign and the city’s sign ordinance to see if the sign requires a permit. Here we go again with city ordinances about signs. We have seen what kind of ridiculousness ensues with city ordinances concerning signs, especially when that sign is a cross.
The sign is attached to another sign that is 20 feet tall. The taller sign reflects the name of Massey Ferguson outlet which moved years ago. Currently the building and fenced lot behind it are on a lease-purchase to Dusty Kovald, according to Mark Whittington, who owns the property.
Though the sign has been up for weeks, indicating that code enforcement isn’t a really serious issue for this small town in New Mexico, it didn’t come under the eye of city government until a local television station featured it, which we provided video for in the previous report.
What’s interesting is that Steve Hansen points out the city’s sign ordinance reads as follows:
“All new signs, including temporary signs, shall include easily identifiable information that indicates the owner of the sign, address of the sign owner and current telephone number of the sign owner.”
The Obama’s Presidential Library sign doesn’t have those identifying labels, but if you look close, neither do the other two signs in the picture; at least as far as one can read in the picture.
The city ordinance allows for a temporary erection of the signs for 75 days, but only with a permit.
Calls to Veronica Sandy, the city code enforcer have not been returned. However, FreedomOutpost has a source that lives in the town that told us that back in the early 1990s, Judge Albert Mitchell filed a lawsuit against the city over its sign ordinance, which showed a bias against Republicans. Judge Mitchell was out of the office until Monday, and so he was unable to comment on the lawsuit. An email was sent to him for comment. Should he respond, I will update this article to reflect his comments. The clerk of court also indicated that any cases prior to 1997 were all on microfilm and would require a payment and time to access.
Anyone guessing on which way the city will lean on this? Should it really even be an issue?
Tim Brown is the Editor of Freedom Outpost and a regular contributor to The D.C. Clothesline.